COVID-19 Update: Problems reported with Alberta’s vaccine booking system | 267 new cases, 11 deaths | City renews state of local emergency

Stay tuned to this page for the latest news on COVID-19 throughout the day

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With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.


What’s happening now

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My COVID Story: How have you been impacted by coronavirus?

Postmedia is looking to speak with people who may have been impacted by COVID-19 here in Alberta. Were you able to book a vaccine for yourself or a loved one on Wednesday morning? Were you among the people unable to get through and book a vaccine appointment ? Have you undergone a travel-related quarantine? Have you received your vaccine, and if so did you feel any side effects? Have you changed your life for the better because of the pandemic? Send us an email at reply@calgaryherald.com to tell us your experience, or send us a message via this form.

Read our ongoing coverage of personal stories arising from the pandemic.


Numbers reported by Alberta Health on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Albertans report technical problems on first day of general vaccine appointment booking

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Technical woes cast a shadow over Alberta’s first day of general COVID-19 immunization bookings after overwhelming response jammed the province’s vaccine website and phone lines.

Beginning Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., vaccine eligibility expanded to 230,000 seniors born in 1946 or earlier living in the community.

But users trying to book appointments for themselves and their loved ones reported widespread problems on social media, saying they were unable to advance through the booking process.

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By 9:20 a.m., AHS was reporting some success, saying that 4,500 had registered for an appointment.

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Read more.

Are you having trouble booking a vaccine appointment for yourself or a family member? We’d like to hear your experience. Send us an email at reply@calgaryherald.com.


Some travellers walking out of Pearson airport, risking a fine instead of paying for quarantine hotel

A passenger arrives at Toronto’s Pearson airport after mandatory COVID-19 testing took effect for international arrivals in Mississauga, Ontario, February 1, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Some travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport are walking out instead of footing the bill of mandatory quarantine hotel stays, just days after the federal government issued new protocols to curb the spread of variants in the country.

Akhil Mooken, a spokesperson for Peel Regional Police, confirmed that officers are not arresting people who refuse to follow the measures that came into effect Monday.

“Unless there are some serious or aggravating circumstances where the public safety is at risk, we are not… detaining individuals who are not complying with the regulations under the Quarantine Act,” Mooken said.

Read more.


COVID-19 outbreak spreads at Vancouver hospital, affecting 16 patients, 13 staff

Vancouver General Hospital is struggling with a COVID-19 outbreak. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Two more units have been added to a COVID-19 outbreak declared at Vancouver General Hospital.

A statement from Vancouver Coastal Health says outbreaks are underway on inpatient units T-14-G and T-11-G in the highrise tower of the hospital’s Jim Pattison Pavilion.

The health authority says the outbreaks are in addition to one declared Sunday in unit T-10-C in the same tower.

The statement says, in total, 16 patients and 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

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Podcast: COVID-weary Canada should brace for ‘worst wave of them all’ in April

A pedestrian wearing mask and shield stands at a streetcar shelter in Toronto. Photo by Peter J Thompson/National Post

This week on the Down to Business podcast, three experts spoke about the challenges and opportunities of vaccine rollout in Canada, perhaps the single biggest issue right now affecting the economic recovery.

Listen here.


National post columnist Tristin Hopper lays out several questionable decisions made by the federal government early on in the pandemic which may have cost the country months in its vaccine effort.

As the U.K. and U.S. vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people every day, Canada is barely managing a fraction of those numbers.

Read more.


Tuesday

Police chief says officer’s handshake with anti-mask protester doesn’t imply support

Police attempt to disperse an anti-mask protest in Chinook Mall in Calgary on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Police Chief Mark Neufeld says the police officer who offered a handshake to an anti-mask protester at Chinook Centre wasn’t endorsing the man’s views.

The chief addressed the incident, which was caught on video, at a Tuesday meeting of the Calgary police commission.

Police commission chair Bonita Croft said the officer’s actions have been “a lighting rod for criticism” and she asked CPS to address their strategy for dealing with the ongoing protests.

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Tuesday

Albertans 75 and over can begin booking COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday

File photo. Photo by Mike Hensen/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Nearly a quarter of a million seniors living outside long-term care will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations starting Wednesday morning, the province said Tuesday.

Those turning 75 sometime this year can start making appointments for inoculation on the AHS online booking tool or by Health Link by phone at 811 starting at 8 a.m., said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

It’s the next major step in the vaccination process following the administration of 180,755 doses to long-term care residents and health-care workers in the province since mid-December — 73,000 of them having received two doses.

Read more.


Tuesday

Five things: What to expect as vaccine eligibility expands this week in Alberta

Abdul Makalai, 86, receives the COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Corrina Bennett Silvera Aspen in Calgary. Photo by ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES

Albertans 75 years or older who haven’t already gotten their doses of COVID-19 vaccine are eligible to start booking their immunizations on Wednesday.

Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this expansion to the vaccination rollout in this story.


Tuesday

267 new cases, 11 deaths

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Alberta’s chief officer of medical health Dr. Deena Hinshaw gave an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province on Tuesday afternoon.

  • More than 180,755 doses of vaccine administered; ~73,000 Albertans full immunized
  • 267 new cases of 6,335 tests; 4.4% positivity rate
  • 326 in hospital; 51 in ICUs
  • 11 deaths; 1,853 total
  • 4,516 active cases; 125,234 recovered
  • 231 schools on active alerts or outbreaks; 846 cases in these schools since in-person classes resumed

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Tuesday

NDP calls for $3 billion in surge funding to support Alberta’s health-care system

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley speaks at a press conference outside Rockyview General Hospital on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley speaks at a press conference outside Rockyview General Hospital on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

Opposition Leader Rachel Notley is calling for $3 billion in surge funding by the United Conservative government to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Alberta’s health-care system.

In the upcoming provincial budget, set to be released on Thursday, Notley said it must show the repetition of $1 billion in annual COVID-19 funding, which was introduced last year.

Read more.


Tuesday

City renews state of local emergency

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi urged Calgarians to increase their vigilance as COVID-19 numbers surge in the city. Nenshi spoke on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi on Wednesday, October 28, 2020. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the city will renew its state of local emergency to allow more flexibility in assisting with vaccine distribution.

CEMA chief Sue Henry said the state of local emergency has been renewed for 90 days.

“It continues to be one of the tools in our tool box to support the response to the pandemic,” she said.

Henry said the city is opening several more ice surfaces and soccer fields for limited training, only available to those who pre-book.

Read more.

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Tuesday

Hinshaw clarifies Step 2 reopening timing

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In a series of tweets, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Alberta could begin Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan as early as March 1.

For Step 1, restaurants requested one week’s notice so they could prepare for the return of restaurant dining.

Hinshaw said that week’s notice may not be necessary for other businesses, and therefore the decision to reopen on March 1 could be made that day.

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